Method Acting: The art of torturing yourself to prove you're an artist.
Just The Facts
- Some actors take their jobs really seriously.
- Some actors take it beyond that.
- Way, way beyond that.
- We're looking at you, Daniel Day Lewis.
Jim Carrey - In 1999, Jim Carrey delivered an award-winning performance as Andy Kaufmann in the biopic film Man on the Moon. He had stiff competition to get the part, even going up against famous dramatic actors like Edward Norton. Carrey won the part thanks to his over the top audition: He bought and performed with the actual bongo drums that Kaufman used in his own act. He was reportedly given the role on the spot.
How he took his role too seriously:
From the moment he got the role, he took on the persona of Andy Kauffman. He maintained his character not only on, but reportedly off the set as well. To take it past dedication and into the realm of obsession, Carrey refused to acknowledge that he was not Kauffman. Kaufman's girlfriend, Lynn Margolis, shot over 150 hours of film of Carrey being a complete "Kaufman-esque nuisance" (read: annoying dickhead) behind the scenes.
Robert De Niro - With nigh-countless Oscar winning performances in films such as The Godfather and Raging Bull, De Niro is arguably one of the greatest actors of our time. He's also extremely dedicated to method acting. Why, he's been playing the role of "over the hill one note comedic flop" for nearly a decade now!
Remember when you were awesome? Do that more.
While preparing for his role as Max Cady in Cape Fear, De Niro decided that he wanted his character's appearance to reflect the fact that he had spent a long time in prison. In order to do this, he paid a dentist roughly $20,000 to fuck up his teeth. It's a shame he wasted the money, if only he'd waited 14 years he could've gotten an audience member coming out of Meet the Fockers to do it for free.
Christian Bale - Christian Bale had a hell of a time preparing for the role of Batman. Wait, Batman? Seriously? How do you "method act" Bruce Wayne - hire somebody to kill your parents? Well, no - his difficulties came about when he had to gain nearly 100 pounds for the role. Bale, who stands at six-feet-tall and normally weighs about 185 pounds, needed to weigh roughly 220 for the role of Batman. No, we're not doing our math wrong. He had to gain back the 63 pounds he had just lost to play a role in The Machinist.
Jesus, he could've eaten himself.
Min-sik Choi - Min-sik Choi is a Korean actor who has won countless awards for his performances, by far the most well-known of which is his role in the 2003 film OldBoy. If you're not familiar with Oldboy, it's that one movie that all your friends told you was amazing, and then in the next breath told you never to watch.
In the film, Choi's character uses a piece of hot wire to count off the years he has spent in prison on his own body. Not content with the fact that this could be done with makeup and special effects, Choi actually performed the act on himself multiple times, on camera. That's right, that's his actual flesh being burnt in the movie. But that's not all: Choi's character is at one point required to eat several live Octopods. While this may not seem like all that big of a deal, Choi, who is a Buddhist, had to stop and pray for forgiveness after every take.
Daniel Day Lewis - Daniel Day Lewis practically defines the term method acting. Here are just a few examples of his flamboyant performances:
Well, MORE flamboyant anyway.
The Boxer: Trained for 18 months with former world champion Barry Mcguigan who later said that Day Lewis could have easily been a professional afterward.
The Crucible: Etched actual tattoos onto his own body.
Gangs of New York: In preparation for his role as Bill the Butcher, Daniel Day Lewis actually took up an apprenticeship as a butcher; he would sharpen his knives during breaks in filming. He was also diagnosed with pneumonia on set, after continuously refusing to wear warmer modern coats as they 'wouldn't have existed in the 19th century'.
My Left Foot: During filming as paralytic Christie Brown, Lewis refused to leave his wheelchair between scenes, so he could truly experience the problems associated with the condition. His constant refusal to break from character also earned him 2 broken ribs, from his continually hunched position in the wheelchair. He somehow sat still so hard that he broke his own ribs, and still didn't move.
Last of the Mohicans: Lived in the wild for 6 months, surviving only on necessities. No word if he ate a mountain lion whole and took a grizzly bear as his "Woods Wife," so we are forced to assume he did.
In the Name of the Father: For the part of a prisoner, Lewis lived in solitary confinement at an abandoned prison. The only reason he was not dragged away by the furious ghosts of long dead prisoners was the vast weight of his balls rooting him to the spot.